Use this survey to determine the priorities of the membership before bargaining and to recruit member activists to be part of a Contract Action Team.
Setting up a Contract Action Network
This guide provides an overview of the steps involved in setting up a Contract Action Network. Along with strengthening our union’s ability to achieve strong agreements, Contract Action Networks are also an invaluable way to create lasting internal structures through which members can communicate with each other and with union staff in the future.
Bargaining Resources from Labor Project for Working Families
Short, informative fact sheets that give a snapshot of things to consider when bargaining for work family benefits; contract language database on family-friendly workplace policies; other bargaining resources related to FMLA and related issues.
- Contract Language Database Find union-negotiated contract language on family-friendly workplace policies
- Step-by-Step Approach to Building Work Family Contract Language
- Low-Wage Worker Benefits Fact sheet
- Paid Sick Days Fact sheet
- Paid Time Off Fact sheet
- Survey for Bargaining Fact sheet
- Worker-controlled Flexibility Fact sheet
From the experiences of local union presidents and staff, we know members are most eager to participate in union activities during the flurry of activity that accompanies contract negotiations. Our challenge is to keep that energy going and provide clear ways for members to remain engaged in between bargaining.
Members’ experiences during contract time greatly impacts their activism later. This is particularly true for those hired after their workplace has already organized, and for whom bargaining can represent a new and unfamiliar first opportunity to really speak out on workplace issues that are important to them. Similar to organizing campaigns, members involved during negotiations have the opportunity to learn first-hand what being a part of a union really means and how their skills and ideas can contribute to the greater good.
In addition to contract ratification votes, members can:
- Help to design bargaining surveys
- Listen to co-workers about their bargaining priorities
- Build community support and outreach efforts
- Speak with journalists and allies
- Communicate with co-workers and supporters via social media
- Explain contractual issues/ what’s at stake to co-workers
- Organize and attend worksite actions, informational pickets and rallies
- Identify and recruit others to be involved
Often, members participate in these ways as part of Contract Action Teams. Some locals create Contact Action Teams specifically for the bargaining period. Others maintain the committee indefinitely, referring to it as a “Member Communication Team” when not in negotiations.
This guide provides an overview of the steps involved in setting up a Contract Action Team. Along with strengthening our union’s ability to achieve strong agreements, Contract Action Teams are also an invaluable way to create lasting internal structures through which members can communicate with each other and with union staff in the future. This is often referred to as “winning and building”— winning the best contract possible and building our union at the same time.
Sample Bargaining Materials Developed by Local Unions: